It's amazing how a concert can stick with you. I saw a picture in the local paper the other day of Rascal Flatts performing at the W.O. Smith benefit concert here in Nashville. The W.O. Smith School provides music education and instruments to those students who would not otherwise have the opportunity. Seeing that picture took me back in time to a previous W.O. Smith benefit and what was one of my favorite concert events.
It was about 20 years ago when I saw the announcement that there would be a benefit concert for the School featuring Jimmy Buffett at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC). Having been a Parrothead for a few years, I jumped at the chance to go see Mr. Buffett. It was in winter and cold outside, so the chance to experience an indoor beach party was something I couldn't pass up. Having been to a couple of his shows at an amphitheatre, I was anticipating tiki torches, sand trucked in, half-nekkid island girls, etc. Boy was I wrong.
The show had sold out in about 15 minutes, so I was very lucky to get my tickets in the top section (glad I had binoculars). Where were the torches & the scantily-clad dancers? Oh, they must be hidden behind the curtain and there aren't any torches due to fire codes….. Wrongo. What happened next literally blew me away.
I look down and see what appears to be a stage hand walking out in jeans, shirt, and no shoes. The roar of the crowd below told me that it wasn't a stage hand, but the man himself. He literally plopped himself down, dangled his feet off the edge of the stage and started singing "It's My Job". That song is probably my second favorite JB song and it is written by Mac McAnally. The curtain then opened and there was Mac McAnally and Josh Leo. That's it. Nobody else. Mac is an accomplished songwriter who has literally had a song on almost every JB album and written scores of hits for Alabama and Sawyer Brown. He now plays in the Coral Reefer Band (JB's backing band) and back then would always come out and play with Jimmy when he was in Nashville. Josh Leo was a very early member of the Coral Reefer Band (original maybe?) and at the time of the show was a Music Row executive and has produced a bunch of albums. What followed that show was basically Jimmy Buffett unplugged and he dug deep into the past with gems like "Coast is Clear", "Frank & Lola", etc. It was a chance to hear the music in a way that I would never get to again. This was before my habit of writing down set lists, so I don't have one, but I can tell you that it was a great night. Clint Black (country singer) even came out and joined Jimmy on stage. This was also during the time that Jimmy was living in Nashville (second stint).
I guess this goes to show that sometimes you may be expecting one thing and the unexpected is better than the expected. Thanks for a wonderful night Jimmy, Mac, & Josh.
Zach, A Tennessee Squire (and Parrothead)